Image Credits: NASA.
Four years after countries struck a landmark deal in Paris to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of global warming, humanity is headed toward those very climate catastrophes, according to a United Nations report issued Tuesday, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, having expanded their carbon footprints last year.
“The summary findings are bleak,” the report said, because countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions even after repeated warnings from scientists. The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required.”
I’m from Generation X and I just turned fifty years old. There are only a handful of U.S. Senators who are younger than me. We’re just coming into our natural time of peak power, and we have nothing but messes not of our own making to deal with. The younger generations feel even more aggrieved, since they have even less responsibility for the state of the world.
I firmly believe that we will soon wash away the gridlock and many of the idiotic political disputes that are the legacy and obsession of the Baby Boomers, but that won’t make it any less of a daunting task to fix what they let fester.
I’ve got a nine year old son and two stepsons in their twenties. Here is what they have to look forward to:
Amid that growing pressure to act, Tuesday’s U.N. report offers a grim assessment of how off-track the world remains. Global temperatures are on pace to rise as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, according to the United Nations’ annual “emissions gap” report, which assesses the difference between the world’s current path and the changes needed to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord…
…Should that pace continue, scientists say, the result could be widespread, catastrophic effects: Coral reefs, already dying in some places, would probably dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Some coastal cities, already wrestling with flooding, would be constantly inundated by rising seas. In much of the world, severe heat, already intense, could become unbearable.
You can add stronger storms, widespread drought and famine, and an extremely inhospitable environment for peaceful coexistence.
I don’t really think the Boomers deserve all the blame for inaction on climate. It’s more that they’ve created a situation where action on anything is impossible, and an inability to be proactive on climate is just the most important consequence of that.
I know one thing for certain. As Generation X takes the reins of power over the next decade, they will be looking for help from younger people, not their older brothers and sisters or their parents. They don’t seem to be able to agree that climate change is even occurring and half of them think they can Make America Great Again by burning more fossil fuels.